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Top Activist Open-Source Tools
Jamais Cascio, 16 Jan 04

Over at Many2Many, Clay Shirky points us to 10 Open Source Tools for eActivism, from the Democracy Online Newswire. The essay, written by Dan Bashaw and Mike Gifford, details a variety of programs for collaboration and communication available to people trying to make a difference in the world. They range from tools for online publishing, newsletter and mailing list management, discussion forums, even tools for quickly distributing posters. (Warning: as of the time of this posting, the links in the essay to the various tools seem to have a garbage character at the end of the URL; if you try to hit the links on the page and get an error, try deleting the "%20" at the end of the address.)

All of the programs listed are free (cost), and most are licensed under the GPL (GNU General Public License), making them philosophically "free" as well.

Free collaborative/creative tools and the activist community have a natural connection. Such applications are mechanisms for spreading news and ideas which, by their nature, also spread the ability to disseminate news and ideas to an ever-larger audience. To mangle an ancient metaphor, they are the software equivalent of giving a person a fish that, when eaten, teaches that person how to fish and where to find a fishing pole.

UPDATE: Jon Stahl's Journal links to this post, and adds some useful comments based on Jon's own experiences with some of the software mentioned in the article. He also suggests a few other useful tools, in particular a couple of non-Free but still useful membership and relationship management applications. Go read what he has to say.

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Heh, I just chose Drupal for Though I would classify it more as a CMS than a Blog.

Posted by: Taran on 16 Jan 04



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